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Last Updated on December 1, 2020

What Is a Complete Life? 5 Rules to Live By

What Is a Complete Life? 5 Rules to Live By

“You complete me!” It sounds like a sappy phrase from a romantic movie.

Sometimes, however, we do have experiences that make us feel that way.

Imagine the feeling you have after eating a delicious meal and biting into an equally decadent dessert. Or imagine you are at the end of a beautiful day, maybe on vacation, when one seemingly perfect moment unfolded after the next.

A friend of mine described this feeling after having her third child. In that moment, she said their family felt complete.

The feeling of life being complete can be like deep peace, appreciation for all that we have and all that we are, with no other wishes in the moment. It can bring a sense of being home.

As we go through life, we are constantly being bombarded by messages about what we need or how we can make our lives better.

However, the feeling of completeness is not about reaching some outer goal that we can check off our list. Instead, it’s something that happens internally and is very personal.

So, what is a complete life?

Ask Yourself This Question

It’s important to ask:

What does living a complete life mean to you?

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Have you ever experienced a feeling of your life seeming to be complete, even if only for a moment?

My personal belief is that when we experience a sense of completeness, we are being present, grateful, and connected to our unique, inner essence.

By essence, I mean that energy or spark you have within you than no one else on the face of the earth does or ever will.

I believe living a complete life means being you—the real you.

What Is Completeness, Really?

There are so many different ways we experience this essence or gift—our most authentic selves.

We see this essence in action when someone is doing something he or she truly loves to do. Their eyes light up, a smile crosses their face, they are completely focused on the moment, doing what they love to do and being who they really are.

We witness the same radiant energy when we look at a piece of art by someone who was completely in flow when creating it.

We see it in a child when s/he is completely focused and experiencing the joy of playing with a toy, rolling in the sand, or expressing delight about whatever is happening in the moment.

While we all have the ability to experience this sense of completeness, it doesn’t happen automatically.

It requires being able to let go, even for a split second, and connecting with that energy within that has no words. It is already complete just as it is, unique and almost magical.

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How Do We Live a Complete Life?

How do we go from navigating the responsibilities of the day-to-day—working, paying bills, trying to eat healthy, exercising, connecting with the outer world, and keeping our relationships humming along, while also feeling this sense of wholeness and completeness? What is a complete life?

The answers are different for each of us, but in my experience, the following five rules can help.

1. Choose Self-Compassion and Empathy

So often we are taught that the only way we can succeed or attain true happiness is if we learn to do things better than other people or when we achieve our personal best.

What if, however, instead of so much focus on life in competitive terms, we instead experimented with compassion?

One of the greatest teachers I have ever had the privilege of studying with when it comes to training in empathy and self-compassion is the Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron.

Pema teaches a simple technique called tonglen meditation[1]. In a nutshell, tonglen meditation is training in letting go of the hard-ness of judgement, and accessing the soft spot of empathy and compassion.

The important thing about empathy is to remember that just as we are each unique, we are also always connected with each other because we are all human.

The ability to truly feel compassion for ourselves and deep empathy for others not only makes our current relationships better, it can also help us to attract new relationships that are truly authentic and fulfilling.

2. Be Vulnerable in Order to Stretch and Grow

We receive so many messages from marketers that we would be happier and more successful if we were more perfect. The truth is, perfection is not a goal that any of us can attain.

While none of us are perfect, we are all capable of enormous change, transformation, and growth.

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When we shift our perspective to seeing life as an adventure, an opportunity to grow and learn, and adopt a growth mindset[2], we begin experiencing the joy that only comes from stretching.

In this way, living a full, complete life isn’t about achieving specific goals, but rather about discovering new ways to connect with that part of ourselves that is unique, complete, changing, growing, and expanding all the time.

The ability to stretch and grow helps us to experience life as a series of complete moments rather than an end goal unto itself.

3. Give Back and Help Others

We each have something unique to offer the world. Research shows that knowing that the small role we play is making a positive difference makes us happier and healthier[3] and has a positive effect on our resilience[4].

Ask yourself if there is one simple way you could make someone’s life better today. Pay attention to what you choose.

When we find a way to make a difference that also resonates with our unique gifts and who we really are, we reach a new level of fulfillment.

Your unique way of helping may light the way to a greater sense of purpose that could help make your life feel more complete.

4. Listen to Your Intuition

For years, I have been studying and teaching ways we can each access our intuition more easily. I am often amazed both by how easily we can each access answers for our lives when we take a quiet moment to connect.

We receive so many messages about what is right and wrong that we often forget to tune into and trust ourselves. By simply sitting in silence or meditating on an open-ended question, however, we can easily and effortlessly gain powerful insights about what is right for us in our lives.

Other ways to access our intuition include journaling, writing down our dreams, listening to how our body feels when we are around certain people or doing certain tasks, and asking ourselves specific questions about what we need most and paying attention to the first thing that pops into our mind.

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Our intuition can be a powerful guide to finding unexpected stops along the way, treasures we would have never known were available to us if we hadn’t trusted our inner wisdom.

5. Do What You Love

Research shows that when we do what we love, and do that in a state of flow, we find our way not only to happiness, but also to greater success and overall well-being[5].

You don’t have to do what you love as a career. You don’t even have to be good at it. Making time for activities you love, without any thought to where they are taking you, can make a huge difference in your life.

If you aren’t sure what you love to do, there are many books about finding your passion and spending time in flow and being creative, including Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck and Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow by Marsha Sinetar.

Honoring our passions not only helps us to connect with our unique essence, but it also helps us find our unique paths to living lives that honor all of who we are.

Doing more of what we love can also pave the way to new hobbies or careers that can help our lives feel more complete.

Final Thoughts

What is a complete life for you? Trust your own answers.

What do you think about the idea of having a unique essence that no one else has? What makes you feel most in sync, connected, and alive?

Look back over the 5 rules above. Which one excites you most? Which one do you think might have the greatest positive impact on your life right now?

Pick one of the rules above and start today. You are already on your way!

More Articles on Living a Complete Life

Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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Laurie Smith

Inspirational Writer. Coach. Healer.

13 Keys to Living Your Best Life and Aligning Your Priorities How to Set Intentions That Set You Up for Success What Is a Complete Life? 5 Rules to Live By Understanding the 5 Stages of Life Can Help Navigate Hard Times how to get out of a funk How to Get Out of a Funk When You’re Stressed Out

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

7 Reasons to Dare to Dream Big

7 Reasons to Dare to Dream Big

When you dare to dream big, you are taking an active role in your life. You are being present and allowing yourself to experience things as they happen. As you make a conscious effort to set goals and achieve them, you are going to have a richer life experience. In this article, we discuss 7 reasons to dream big.

1. Live a Life of No Regrets

There are plenty of experiences in life that don’t come around very often. Halley’s Comet, for instance, comes around once every 75 years. As a result, most people make a serious effort to experience this once in a lifetime event. When you understand something is special, you usually try to make it a point to experience it.

Your life and the experiences you accumulate are no less valuable. Yet, there are people who are not experiencing this very special opportunity every day.

There is little worse than coming to the end of your life and realizing you never lived your fullest life. By acknowledging that your life is as special of an event as an eclipse or Halley’s Comet, you will live your life to the fullest. When you dare to dream big, you are breaking your limits and challenging the status quo.

2. Inspire Others

Think about the stories that motivate you to take action. These are usually stories of people who overcame the odds and achieved something great. It is why so many people love to watch movies; you are living vicariously through the experiences of the hero. Their willingness to do the right thing in the bleakest of times is the stuff legends are made of.

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Heroes exist in real life, too. Just like in the movies, they are the people who show courage in the face of danger and dare to dream in the face of adversity. They are also willing to put the needs of others above their own. You could inspire the next generation by your contribution if you dare to dream big.

3. Receive a Greater Reward

Those who are willing to take risks in life end up receiving the lion’s share of the reward. Think about the difference between someone who opens their own law firm versus someone who chooses to be a public defender. They are essentially doing the same work, but the person who is a public defender is not taking any risk. They are going to receive a consistent paycheck every week, regardless of the amount of work they perform.

Someone who owns their own law firm has the ability to earn an unlimited amount of income. However, they also have the ability to earn nothing.

Those who dare to dream big understand that there is a risk associated with their decisions. Most people are not willing to take on the risk associated with chasing their dreams because do not want to be put in a position where they can lose everything. They would rather live a life short of their true potential in order to avoid possible failure…but where’s the fun in that?

4. Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

Your comfort zone is such a wonderful place. You get into a little groove and things seem to be coming along naturally.

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However, while your comfort zone can feel great, it is also the place where your big dreams go to die. For someone to dare to dream big, they know they must push themselves beyond their current limits. A Yale study says that stability shuts off the switch to your brain. In other words, when you remain in your comfort zone, your brain stops learning.[1]

When you dare to dream big, you are encouraging your brain to imagine ways to accomplish your goal. There is a level of uncertainty that causes you to fear leaving your comfort zone. You are worried about your ability to succeed and whether the journey is worth traveling.

You may think, “What if I invest a year into this relationship and find out this person is not right for me?” Or what if you accept that new position, but you don’t like your new boss? All of these thoughts are signs that you are about to leave your comfort zone. Instead of running away from these experiences, try to lean into them.

5. Living Small Doesn’t Help Anyone

The sad truth is that plenty of people will not like you simply because you are successful. Success will test your relationships with your friends and family. You will feel tempted to limit yourself and not pursue your big dreams.

Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you cannot dare to dream big because the people you are currently around dream small. Living small only hinders your growth and theirs[2]. At least by pursuing your dreams, your friends and family may live through your experiences. As a result, you may be the catalyst they need to pursue their own.

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In addition, you never know what amazing things you will accomplish if you dare to dream big. Imagine going to medical school and creating the cure for cancer. Or making advancements in technology and changing the human experience for decades to come. You need to find your motivation and drive in life.

If everyone lived small, there would be no innovation, advancement, or growth. Does that sound like a world you want to be a part of?

6. Conquer Fear

There are two choices in life. You are either living a life of fear or a life of dreams. When you dare to dream big, you are undoubtedly living a life based on your dreams. Your dreams are found in that little voice inside of you that tells you all the amazing things you can do to change the world.

The problem most people face is they have another voice in their head telling them all the reasons they cannot live their dream life.[3] This voice is constantly reminding you of all of your mistakes and all of the reasons success is not possible.

Fear is a powerful tool you can utilize to help you take action. Instead of being afraid of how someone is going to react, be afraid of letting yourself down. Stop thinking about the worst thing that can happen for once and start thinking about the best things that can happen.

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How would your life be different if you dared to dream big? In fact, how would the life of those you love be different because of your willingness to pursue your dreams? Allow these answers to fuel you in your time of fear and self-doubt. You are counting on you, but if that is not enough, those you love are counting on you, too.

7. Write Your Own Story

Have you ever gotten lost in a good book? Books tend to be better than most movies’ because books don’t have a budget. Movies are bound by the laws of science and technology. These laws don’t exist when you write a book. There is no discussion around how much those explosions cost or whether you can make something look real.

Indeed, books allow the author and the reader to both use their imagination. The author is putting their imagination on each page, and the reader uses their imagination to interpret the story. Your life is like being lost in a good book. Every day you wake up, you are writing another chapter. No one knows how the story is going to end, but how would you like it end? Do you want to be victorious because you were willing to dare to dream big, or do you want people to say you left with untapped potential?

Final Thoughts

Your life is the best gift the universe can give you, so don’t waste it. Be willing to dare to dream big and allow yourself to make mistakes. Things are not always going to go your way, but that doesn’t mean you cannot find a way overcome the challenges you face. Continue to strive to be a little better each day, and before you know it, you will be everything you thought you could be and more.

More Tips for Making Dreams Happen

Featured photo credit: Jeremy Perkins via unsplash.com

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